Sliding the Slippery Slope. -- By: Robert E. Sagers
JBMW 13:2 (Winter 2008) p. 86
Sliding the Slippery Slope.
*Special Assistant to the Senior Vice President for Academic Administration
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Just over three decades ago, a well-known evangelical Christian leader wrote a book about what he considered to be the most important theological topic of the day: biblical inerrancy. Carefully and meticulously detailing the abandonment of inerrancy by certain scholars in various denominations, this man’s particular concern was—ultimately—for the Christian faith itself. After all, he reasoned, if the full inspiration and authority of the Bible is abandoned, how long can it be until evangelicals leave behind the evangel, as well?
More recently, Wayne Grudem has penned an immensely helpful work of scholarship examining what he discerns is the latest challenge to biblical authority—as well as a near certain segue to eventual theological liberalism: egalitarianism. In Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism?, Grudem, Research Professor of Bible and Theology at Phoenix Seminary in Phoenix, Arizona, writes out of a “deep concern about a widespread undermining of the authority of Scripture in the arguments that are frequently used to support evangelical feminism” (11). He examines the commonly employed methods of biblical interpretation and exegesis that time and again drive evangelical feminists, in addition to documenting developments in denominations and other Christian organizations that seem to prove his “slippery slope” argument about egalitarianism—that is, that “[o]nce an evangelical feminist position is adopted, the development only goes in one direction, again and again” (12).
Grudem divides this book into four parts. In the first part (13–30), Grudem documents a telling pattern: that endorsing women’s ordination nearly always results in—or is itself the product of—a denomination’s capitulation to theological liberalism. Christians reading Evangelical Feminism, Grudem hopes, will be convinced that egalitarianism—through various avenues—leads to an overall undermining of the truthfulness and authority of Bible.
In the second part of Evangelical Feminism (31–150), Grudem examines the scholarship of specific egalitarian authors such as—among others—Rebecca Groothuis, William Webb, Gordon Fee, Sarah Sumner, and Kevin Giles, and demonstrates the different ways that these egalitarians espouse views that undermine or even deny the full authority of the Bible. Examples of these kinds of claims include asserting that Paul was wr...
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